Short-seller Jim Chanos reveals bets against Dunkin' Brands and Burger King's parent

Short-seller Jim Chanos revealed Thursday on CNBC that he's betting against two fast-food stocks.

The founder and president of Kynikos Associates said in a "Squawk Box" interview that he's shorting Dunkin' Brands and Burger King's parent Restaurant Brands International.

"We've been short these things for about a year," said Chanos, who's known for his past early negative calls on Enron and Tyco.

On Thursday's news, shares of Dunkin' saw an initial 5 percent spike lower in premarket trading before recovering some of those losses. Dunkin' had been up before Chanos' comments. The stock opened lower.

Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis pushed back on Chanos' call in a Thursday afternoon interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"I love a challenge," Travis said. "And that was a challenge before our earnings this morning. And I have a book coming out later this year, so I'll take him head on. He's absolutely wrong."

Shares of Restaurant Brands — owner of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen — sank about 3 percent on the news and then pared some of those declines. The stock opened down slightly.

In making his case, Chanos said price-to-earnings ratios for restaurant stocks have been going "higher, higher and higher as restaurants themselves have struggled."

"At some point, that has to come to an end," he said.

"This is part of a broader theme, ... the franchisers versus the franchisees," Chanos said. He said he doesn't like what he calls "this asset-light idea" of these companies not owning their restaurants while "basically clipping the coupons, collecting royalties" from the franchises.

"We're also short a number of these asset-light models," he said, but he did not reveal any names beyond Restaurant Brands and Dunkin'.

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